Monday, March 13, 2006

Where does all the good go?

So now that I have gotten into this whole blog thing I find myself constantly thinking of things to rant about. Not all of them are related to work either, but all are related to people. I have a continuing interest in people, which is ironic because working in retail really makes you question human beings on a constant basis. After one grueling Sunday with my co-worker and friend, she was left questioning her mortal being and I was gearing up to write a book titled, "What the fuck is wrong with you?!?"
The situations I have encountered working in retail are so unbelievably unreal that my entire management team thinks we are being videotaped for an un-named, yet-to-be aired reality series.
I vaguely remember this one morning nearly a year ago when I was just going along with my normal routine for when I open the store; counting the drawers, payroll, filling out the zone chart, answering the phone, and that's when it happened.
"Good Morning, thank you for calling...."
"I'm looking for this mirror that's on your website, I wanted to see if you had it in the store?"
"Ok, what does it look like?"
"It is called the.."
"Oh, we actually don't go by the names on the website, can you describe it for me?"
"Well, umm, it is oval shaped, has flowers, do you know what it is?"
At this point I knew what she was referring to and asked to put her on hold so I could go and look for the item. Well we no longer had the item, so I picked up the phone and informed the woman on the phone that I was sorry but we no longer had that item. Seems kosher so far, well she then asked me if I could look it up and see what other stores have it. I told her, as I told every customer when they ask this question, that we do not have a system that allows us to do, but what I can do is take her information, fill out a request, locate the SKU for her (which neither she nor I had at the moment) and do a store-wide search to see if any location still had it. She asked how long it would take, I told her the entire process, doing the store-wide search, and getting it shipped to her could take up to two weeks. Well all that miss friendly on the other end of the phone heard was "two weeks" and she started screaming at me.
"So you are telling me that it will take me two weeks to find the item?"
"No, it will take two weeks for.."
"Two weeks is ridiculous, I can't believe you can't just find it for me now."
"the entire process, so you will receive it anywhere from now until two weeks from now."
Well she had no interest, all she wanted to know is why at 8:30 AM I was unable to immediately find her a mirror, because honestly that is the most important thing in the world, clearly the most pressing matter is whether or not this woman gets her mirror. Well, she decided that my offer to help her find the mirror was completely unacceptable so she she was going to call other stores. I thought it was over from there, I mean I had done everything I could have at that particular moment. To find a SKU would have taken some time since we no longer had the item and either way I was going to have to still fill out a request for her since our store no longer had it. Time (and etiquette) was apparently something this woman lacked.
So I continued on the things that I had to do, assuming that she would have better luck finding the item at another location and that my part in her all-consuming quest for her mirror was over.
You have heard the saying never assume anything because it makes an ass out of you and me right? Exactly! The phone rings a little bit later and here is this woman again telling me how I must have no idea how to do my job, I must be completely incompetent because she called another store and they found it for her right then. She could not believe how unwilling I was to do my job. "That is your job" she told, I mean yelled at me. She hit a nerve with that comment but I held back, I tried to explain to her one last time that I did everything I could have done at that particular moment and, well it did not matter what else I said, all she wanted to do was yell at me and tell me what I moron she perceived me to be. She also wanted to know who my district manager because she wanted to complain about me.
I had to warn my district manager because I knew how completely she would distort the truth to make herself seem like a victim. I offered her the same information I offer every customer that is looking for something that no longer exists in my particular location, but for her it was not good enough.
Did I say, vaguely remembered?!? Ok, I will never forget this instance because it is a constant reminder how awful people can be and how wrong. This woman had no actual idea how much I had to do at that particular moment, what my actual job is, how hard I work, or how much intelligence I actually do possess. I had no idea that at 8:30 AM on a weekday that this woman would forever change the way I thought about people. No idea that this one high maintenance, self-serving, obnoxious woman would taint my ability to see the good in all people. It did raise a lot of questions though. I have a ton of questions about people, how did they get to be this way? Did their parents teach them the difference between right and wrong? When did they become to believe that the world revolves so perfectly around them?
My list goes on.
I am questioning human beings on a constant basis.

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